Addiction Among Nurses: It’s Bigger Than You Think

Did you know that drug and alcohol addiction among nurses is a bigger problem than one might think? It is said that 1 in 10 nurses suffer from an addiction of some kind. 

Nurses have more access to prescription drugs than many other people just because they work in the medical field. The same drugs given to patients can be easily accessed and taken by the nurses providing them. This opportunity can become an increased temptation for tired and stressed nurses who may be in pain emotionally or physically or who are having a hard time coping with the demands of their job.

Nurses Get Prescriptions, Too

It’s important to remember that nurses are still human and can have medical issues that require the use of prescription drugs. Just like many others in these situations, those who work in the medical field can still abuse the drugs they are prescribed.

Although they have access to several types of drugs at work, that’s not always where addiction starts.

What to Look For

There are a few things that can help someone identify addiction. The signs of substance abuse in nurses are the same as what would be seen in anyone else. Many people struggling have personality shifts including increased self-isolation and a shorter-fuse than usual.

Although they are harder to recognize, signs associated with nurses specifically may include a sudden increased desire to give out medicine to patients or a determination to work on their days off. Another hint at addiction may be in how well they keep tabs on medication at work. If a boss or colleague begins to notice errors in the counting of drugs, it’s important to investigate the discrepancy further.

If someone suspects that a loved one or coworker is abusing drugs, they should pay attention to drastic changes in:

  • Speech
  • Coordination
  • Memory
  • Mood
  • Hygiene
  • Job Performance
  • Social Life

Addiction Treatment Can Help

Nurses are a very important part of the medical field. While nursing is a rewarding and noble profession, it can also be very demanding emotionally, physically, and mentally. It’s important to look out for loved ones who may be struggling. It’s also vital to seek addiction treatment as soon as possible. 

A drug or alcohol addiction does not need to be a career ending situation. Getting the help needed from an understanding rehabilitation center can help get those struggling back on their feet and back into the career they’ve chosen.